Lots of things can make you feel powerless, but few can match the gut-wrenching feeling you’ll experience while watching your dog run off into the distance, dragging the remnants of a broken leash behind her.
But we’re here to help! Below, we’ll share 10 of our favorite heavy-duty dog leashes that’ll take everything your dog can throw at it.
Note that we’re not talking about leashes that are built to hold up to an avid leash biter — we’ve talked about chew-proof leashes before. Today, we’re talking about leashes that should resist your dog’s pulling and lunging.
See our quick picks below, or keep reading for full reviews and more details (also be sure to check out the chart following the product reviews, which will help you figure out the best pet leash for your situation).
Quick Picks: Best Heavy Duty Dog Leashes
- Dutchy Brand Dog Leash [Best Overall Heavy-Duty Dog Leash]: Featuring two layers of nylon webbing and all metal hardware, this simple yet strong leash will keep your dog safely tethered.
- Paw Lifestyles Extra Heavy-Duty Leash [Runner Up for Best Overall Heavy-Duty Leash]: Made from extra-thick nylon webbing and backed by the manufacturer’s money-back guarantee, this leash will keep Fido safe and secure.
- Kruz Pet Heavy-Duty Click-and-Lock Leash [Best Heavy-Duty Leash with Locking Carabiner]: A strong and dependable dog leash with a locking carabiner clip to prevent your dog from accidentally becoming unclipped.
How Do Leashes Break?
In order to select a leash that’s unlikely to break, you must begin by identifying the reasons leashes typically fail.
To that end, we reviewed dozens of stories, photos, and complaints regarding broken leashes. Some of the most common ways that leashes break include:
- The main portion of the leash (be it leather, nylon, rope, or chain) can snap.
- The hardware used in the leash can break.
- The stitching – particularly the stitching that keeps the handle together — can fail.
Although our review shouldn’t be taken as a rigorous, scientific study, it appears that leashes fail most often in response to broken hardware or stitching, rather than a default in the main portion of the leash. The only caveat to this occurs when dogs chew on the main portion of the leash, which obviously weakens it.
It is also important to note that dogs can escape when the clasp becomes unhooked. This may be due to the leash –the collar or harness clasps of some leashes appear to slip open more frequently than others – or it may be due to your dog’s Houdini-caliber skills.
Either way, the security of a leash’s clasp is an important consideration for owners of all dogs, but especially those with big, strong, or escape-minded pups.
The 10 Best Heavy-Duty Dog Leashes
Any of the leashes discussed below should stand up to big and strong dogs, as well as those who pull on their leash constantly.
Just be sure to select one that addresses your needs, as well as those of your dog.
1. Dutchy Brand Heavy Duty Dog Leash
About: The Dutchy Brand Heavy-Duty Dog Leash is built like most standard pet leashes, but it incorporates high-quality components and design features that make it suitable for large and strong dogs.
- Measures 1″ wide and 6′ long
- Made from 2 layers of nylon webbing (also available in 1-layer version)
- Features all metal components
- Padded handle for comfort
- Available in 3 colors
- Twice as strong as standard leashes
- Very well-rated by owners
- Swivel snap is strong yet easy to operate
- We’d prefer if it had a locking carabiner
- It’s not chewproof
2. Paw Lifestyles Extra Heavy-Duty Leash
About: The Paw Lifestyles Extra Heavy-Duty Leash is designed to be one of the strongest leashes on the market, and it is specifically intended for medium to large dogs.
- Made 3mm thick webbing (twice as thick as most other leashes)
- Padded neoprene handle
- Durable metal hardware
- Reflective stitching for increased visibility
- Available in 3 color combinations
- Backed by a 100% money-back guarantee
- The increased thickness make it stronger than most other leashes
- Owners raved about the quality
- Reportedly holds up to canine chompers fairly well
- A few owners complained of broken clasps
- The increased thickness also increases the weight
3. Mighty Paw Rope Leash
About: The Mighty Paw Rope Leash is a strong and durable lead made from weather-resistant climber’s rope to provide a strong and sturdy leash for dogs who like to pull during walks.
- Mmade from lightweight, 3/8″ climbing rope
- Equipped with a large 880-pound-test carabiner clip
- Tubular nylon webbing handle comes with extra padding
- Reflective stitching for visibility
- Available in 2 bright colors
- Made in the USA and backed by a 90-day money-back guarantee
- Very affordable leash for the quality
- Impressive carabiner weight rating
- 3/8 thick rope should be plenty strong enough for most dogs
- The carabiner doesn’t lock
- Some owners were skeptical of the carabiner’s strength rating
4. Mycicy Rope Leash
- Made from 1/2″ wide, 6-strand mountain climbing rope rated for 1,000 pounds
- Reflective strips are woven into the rope for visibility
- Padded nylon handle
- Features a metal clasp with a safety lock catch
- Available in 4′ and 6′ lengths and 5 colors
- Backed by the manufacturer’s lifetime guarantee
- The safety lock catch prevents the leash from coming unhooked and provides peace of mind
- We think the color combinations are great looking
- Most owners considered it very comfortable to use
- Fraying complaints were somewhat common
- The collar clip did break for a few owners
5. ADITYNA Leather Dog Leash
About: The Adityna Leash is a premium dog leash made from genuine leather and specifically designed for large to extra-large dogs.
- Made from a single piece of real, premium-grade leather
- Uses metal rivets and a 360-degree, rotating, stainless-steel leash clip
- Available in 3/4″ or 1″ wide versions
- Comes in 2 colors (black and brown)
- Backed by the manufacturer’s 2-year warranty
- Really well rated by owners
- Some owners reported that a free storage bag was included with their purchase
- Most owners reported that it was exceptionally comfortable to use
- There were scattered reports of manufacturing defects
- Not chewproof (though it’s not intended to be)
6. Kruz Pet Heavy-Duty Click-and-Lock Leash
About: The Kruz Pet Heavy-Duty Leash is a short, rugged leash designed to keep your pet safe and securely by your side during walks.
- Measures 4-feet in length
- Made from durable nylon webbing
- Available in three widths: 5/8″, 3/4″, and 1″
- Features a heavy-duty, locking carabiner
- Comes with a neoprene padded handle for comfort
- Reflective stitching improves visibility in dim light
- Available in 4 colors
- The locking carabiner helps keep you attached to your dog
- Owners report that it is extremely strong
- Short length is great for crowded locations
- Short leashes aren’t every owner’s favorite
- The handle padding is reportedly thin
7. COLLAR Heavy-Duty Dog Leash
About: The COLLAR Heavy-Duty Dog Leash is a unique and innovative leash that is specifically designed for large, strong dogs.
- Made from COLLARTEX, which is stronger and easier to grip than most other leash materials
- Stitched together with Kevlar thread
- Capable of supporting 1,100 pounds of weight
- Aviation-grade aluminum alloy carabiner
- Available in 4′ and 10′ versions
- Comes in 2 colors
- Backed by the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty
- That weight rating is very impressive
- Kevlar stitching will outperform nylon
- Includes a very strong and durable carabiner
- Has fewer reviews than we usually look for
- A few owners found COLLARTEX uncomfortable in the hand
8. Leashboss Dog Leash
About: The Leashboss Dog Leash is a pretty straight-forward, heavy-duty dog leash except for one thing: It is about two to three times longer than most other leashes, which will give your dog more room to roam.
- Made from 1″ thick nylon
- Comes with a neoprene padded handle to protect your hands
- Features metal hardware (including a D-ring near the handle)
- Available in 10′ and 15′ lengths
- Assembled in the USA
- Available in 2 color combinations
- Backed by the manufacturer’s 5-year warranty (including chew damage)
- Received glowing reviews from most owners
- A great choice for owners who want to give their dog more room to explore
- The warranty (which includes chew damage) is very impressive
- Despite the warranty, it’s not good for an avid leash biter
- It’s likely too heavy for small dogs
9. Misthis 6-Foot Dog Leash
- Made from 1″ wide nylon webbing
- Features an elastic section, which enables the leash to stretch from 4′ to 6′ in length
- Comes with a padded neoprene handle, a traffic control handle, and a seatbelt insert \
- Available in 2 colors
- Backed by the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty
- The elastic section will help save some wear and tear on your arm
- We love the included seatbelt insert
- The included traffic handle is perfect for walking your dog in tight spaces
- There were tons of complaints about dogs chewing through the leash
- May be too long to be effectively used as a car restrain
Which of These Leashes Is Right for You?
You may feel a bit overwhelmed after reviewing the leash recommendations above – there’s a lot to think about and several different products to consider.
We’ll try to help clarify things with the following chart.
|If you want a leash that:||You probably want the:|
|Features a very secure clasp||Mycicy Rope Leash|
|Is made from some of the strongest materials available||COLLAR Heavy-Duty Dog Leash|
|Can be used in several different configurations||Misthis 6-Foot Dog Leash|
|Has received the most positive reviews from owners||Dutchy Brand Dog Leash|
|Absorbs the most shock from sudden pulls and lunges||Misthis 6-Foot Dog Leash|
|Is comfortable on your hands and stretches slightly||ADITYNA Leather Dog Leash|
|A heavy duty leash-and-collar set||Impact Dog Leash & Collar|
Don’t take the chart above as the final word on the issue – you’ll still need to consider your dog’s individual needs when making a choice. But, this should help point you in the right direction.
What Should You Look For in a Heavy-Duty Dog Leash?
Because dog leashes can fail in a few different ways, manufacturers employ different methods to prevent different types of failure.
Ideally, you’ll select a leash that satisfies all of the criteria listed below, but this isn’t always easy. Just try to pick one that addresses as many of the following issues as possible, while still suiting your dog’s needs.
Select a Dog Leash Made from Strong Materials
We’ll start with the most obvious criteria you’ll need to look for: You need a leash made from materials with sufficient tensile strength (essentially, the amount of weight or tension the leash can support).
Fortunately, most leashes are made from strong materials, but there are a few differences between the materials you should consider when making your choice.
The three best leash materials for owners who need a super-strong leash include:
- Nylon Webbing – Nylon webbing is one of the most popular choices for dog leashes, and most forms are more than up to the task – particularly varieties that are at least 1-inch wide. The exact tensile strength of different webbing products varies, and manufacturers rarely go into details about the ratings of the webbings they use, so it is often difficult to know what you’re getting when you buy a leash made of nylon webbing. However, the material’s design is inherently strong and used by mountain climbers and on cargo ships.
- Rope – Ropes vary widely in their strength and thickness, and they’re also made from a variety of materials. Some will struggle to support the weight of wet laundry, but the ones used in most dog leashes are pretty resistant to breakage. The best leashes are made from genuine mountain climbing ropes, which are obviously engineered to support very heavy loads and absorb powerful shocks. They also stretch a little bit, which make rope leashes great for dogs who lunge or jerk at squirrels and cats.
- Leather – Leather is another strong material used in leash construction. The strength of a given leash will depend on the width, thickness, and grade of the leather, but high-quality lengths that are at least three-quarters of an inch wide are often strong enough to resist the pulls and lunges of large dogs. Leather is also attractive and durable, plus it feels pretty nice to the hand. It also stretches like rope does.
There are two other materials that are occasionally used for leashes, but for a variety of reasons, they’re not always a great choice for dog owners.
- Metal Chain – Thick metal chains are also very strong, and heavy-duty versions are unlikely to break when your dog pulls. However, chain is a bit heavy, and you won’t feel it stretch at all, so it isn’t as owner-friendly as some of the other materials listed here. Additionally, few manufacturers make chain collars with thick enough links to restrain big dogs. On the plus side, it will withstand your dog’s teeth.
- Metal Wire – Thick metal wire is likely the strongest material used in leash construction, although the specific tensile strength of any given product will vary based on the strand count and thickness. However, metal wire hardly stretches at all, which can be hard on your body. It’s also stiff, which makes it awkward to use.
We don’t include any chain- or wire-based leashes among our recommendations, but they are theoretically viable choices for owners who simply want the strongest leash possible.
Select the Widest, Thickest Leash You Can
For any given material, wider and thicker pieces will usually support more weight or tension than thinner pieces will. This principle only applies when comparing leashes made from the same materials, but as a matter of practice, opt for the thickest and widest version of any given leash if you are prioritizing strength.
Pick a Leash with a Strong and Durable Handle
A troubling number of owners have reported that their leash broke at the handle. In some cases, this was the result of poor stitching (which we’ll get to in a minute), but in other cases, the actual material used snapped in two.
Accordingly, it is important to ensure that any leash you consider features a high-quality handle.
Padding is also nice, but it doesn’t make the leash any stronger. Personally, I don’t really mind using an unpadded leash, but YMMV.
It also bears mentioning that you may want to look for a leash with extra handles, such as a “traffic handle.” These provide additional control of your canine when you need it.
Stick to Leashes That Have High-Quality Stitching
Just as a “chain” is only as strong as its weakest “link,” it is important to avoid nylon, rope, or leather leashes that feature substandard stitching. This will drastically reduce the strength of a leash, making it more vulnerable to breakage.
Note that the stitching used in most leashes will fray over time. Just be sure to take good care of your leash and inspect it regularly for signs of fraying. Stop using it once this starts to happen. Some of the best leashes surround stitched areas with plastic or rubber sleeves, which helps to prevent fraying.
You can usually avoid poor stitching by simply sticking to products made by premium manufacturers. Stitching isn’t a terribly expensive component of leashes, so high-end manufacturers rarely cut corners here.
Look for Leashes Made with Heavy-Duty Hardware
You must look for leashes featuring high-quality hardware. This encompasses all of the different metal pieces on a leash, including rivets and rings, but it is especially important to look for leashes that have strong collar or harness clasps.
Be sure to consider not only the thickness and durability of the main portion of the clasp but any wires, pins, or springs used in its construction too.
Pick a Leash with a Secure Clasp
Although we’re primarily focusing on leashes that are particularly strong, it is also important to ensure that you select a clasp that remains securely connected to your dog’s collar or harness. Dogs who constantly jerk, twist, and pull on their leash can cause the clasp to open, which will allow your dog to run free.
Most of the best leashes feature locking mechanisms to prevent such things from happening. These are a bit more difficult to clip to your dog’s collar, but the additional safety they provide is worth this minor inconvenience.
If you have an especially escape-prone pup, you’ll want to consider purchasing an escape-proof dog harness to go with your heavy duty leash. Generally when it comes to Houdini-halting harnesses, the more adjustment points, the better. A multitude of adjustment points allows you to make sure the harness is nice and snug, no with wiggle room for a spry contortionist canine to squirm out of.
What Kinds of Dogs Require a Heavy-Duty Leash?
Not all dogs need a leash capable of restraining a hippopotamus – many will remain safely tethered to their owner with nothing more than a run-of-the-mill leash.
But, heavy-duty leashes should be considered mandatory for dogs that fall into any of the following categories.
If your dog drags you around the neighborhood during your daily walks, you’ll need to go with a heavy-duty leash for dogs who pull that can withstand this type of constant stress.
Reactive or Aggressive Dogs
If your dog tends to freak out when she sees people, dogs, cars, or anything else, you should always pick a heavy-duty leash.
This includes dogs who act out due to excitement or frustration, but it is especially important for any type of reactive dog.
The same holds true for dogs that are known to bolt when scared. A secure leash can help mitigate some of that risk, although there are also other ways you can stop a dog from running away.
Some dogs become so excited to see other people or pets that they’ll jump, pull, and twist their leash while trying to play and interact with others.
This can cause leashes to break and sets up a potentially dangerous (or at least unpleasant) situation.
Understand that while dog lovers may be comfortable with a friendly pooch jumping all over them, many people are frightened by dogs, so you’ll need to prevent your dog from acting this way around strangers. A strong leash will make this much easier to accomplish.
Big and Strong Breeds
Leash strength is always an important factor to consider for breeds that are bigger and stronger than most.
So, opt for a super-strong pet leash if your dog is a member of one of the following breeds – even if she is very calm and well-behaved.
- Mastiffs (including boerboels, and other breeds that don’t actually contain the word “mastiff” in their name)
- Great Danes
- Irish wolfhounds
- Scottish deerhounds
- Large bulldogs, pit bulls, American Staffordshire Terriers, and similar breeds
- Saint Bernards
- Great Pyrenees
This list certainly isn’t comprehensive, so be sure to err on the side of caution. If your dog is a member of a breed that is frequently mentioned with other large breeds, a heavy-duty leash is probably appropriate.
Take Responsibility for Your Pet’s Safety
The tips and recommendations provided above should help you make a good choice, but don’t rely solely on our advice: You must take responsibility for making sure your dog stays safely tethered and under your control, no matter which leash you use.
Make sure that you inspect your dog’s leash before each and every walk. If you notice broken or malfunctioning components, significant fraying, or any other type of damage, refrain from using the leash.
In fact, it’s always a good idea to keep a backup leash on hand, in case your primary leash starts showing signs of wear.
It’s also a good idea to try out any leash you select in the safety of your home or backyard before taking it to the streets (as the kids say). Be sure to give it a good workout so you can ensure that it’ll hold up when you are out in public.
Be Sure to Address Any Behavioral Problems That Require You to Use a Heavy-Duty Leash
The leashes recommended above will certainly help keep your dog safe, but buying one should only be considered a stop-gap measure. It’s also smart to work on loose leash walking in order to instill good walking habits in your pet.
You may be able to fix some of these issues, such as excessive pulling, on your own, but don’t hesitate to work with a professional dog trainer if your dog’s problems are severe, or if you are unable to fix the issue yourself.
My Rottie is sweet enough to give you a cavity. Like most other Rottweilers, she’s a bit aloof around strangers, but she’s little more than a slobber-delivering mechanism to those she knows.
However, she has a problematic tendency: She is irresistibly compelled to chase anything with wheels. She has been like this since she was 10 weeks old.
This includes skateboarders, big trucks, lawnmowers, and those weird hoverboard thingies the kids ride around the neighborhood.
Let’s be clear: She doesn’t mean the people associated with these wheeled devices any harm – her reaction is playful and triggered by her excitability. But she’s an impressive pup, and I’m sure she looks pretty frightening to anyone who doesn’t know her.
A short time ago, we were walking at one of her favorite Atlanta-area dog parks, and I noticed a young kid riding up behind us on his bike. I knew J.B. (my pooch) was about to flip out, so I moved us to the side of the trail and prepared for her to dislocate my shoulder when she pulled the leash taught.
I wasn’t worried about her leash. It was a pretty high-quality model, made by a premium pet product manufacturer. It even featured a relatively heavy-duty leash clasp.
But apparently, it wasn’t up to the task.
When she saw the kid come riding by, she did as I expected and jerked forward, pulling the leash taught. But this is where things went downhill.
As soon as the leash tightened, I heard a metal clang. Part of the leash clip broke and fell to the concrete path below. All of a sudden, the leash wasn’t taught at all – the end that should be attached to her was now lying on the ground.
She took full advantage of her freedom and began running after the bike at full speed.
My. Heart. Stopped.
I wasn’t worried that she was going to hurt the kid, nor was I worried that she’d run away from me, but it was still a moment I’ll forever remember in dramatic, slow-motion fashion.
I take off running after her like a doofus while yelling to the child: “She’s not going to hurt you! Just stop! She just wants to play!” Understandably, the kid being chased by the dog didn’t care what the two-legged idiot running behind him was shouting.
I’m also yelling at J.B. during this whole ordeal, shouting her “down” command at the top of my lungs. She’s impressively obedient in calm circumstances, but she doesn’t even pretend to hear me when wheels are involved.
The kid just struggled to pedal faster, and she kicked into a higher gear to keep up. He eventually veered off into the grass, which slowed him to a stop. She ran right up alongside him and immediately plopped on the ground from exhaustion.
Once I catch up to them, the boy is frightened and crying, and J.B. is smiling and looking up at me as if to say, “Look, Dad! I caught it! I caught the infernal rolling machine! Also, there’s some kid on it, and he’s upset. I don’t know what his problem is.”
I quickly work to dissolve the kid’s fears, and fortunately, he got over it pretty quickly. I explained that she was just trying to play, and I introduced the two properly so that he could pet her. Crisis averted (sort of), he pedaled off to tell his mom about the cool dog he got to meet, while I loaded J.B. back in the Jeep and drove home.
I spent the rest of the day researching heavy-duty leashes and thinking about writing this article to help others in similar situations. Everything worked out in the end, but it could have been much worse (she could have run into traffic – something I can hardly bear to write).
Since then, I’ve been working on desensitizing her to rolling objects. She’s getting better, but we still have a ways to go. We can now sit on the hillside across from the local skatepark without her freaking out, but she still tries to chase about one in three cars that pass us during walks.
And I still get a tiny surge of anxiety every time something with wheels rolls by.
Hopefully, my story will convince you to take leash safety seriously. So, take this time to assess your pup’s leash and make a change if you believe it necessary. Take it from me – this is definitely one of those times when it is better to be safe than sorry.
Share your own broken-leash stories in the comments below and let us know if you’ve stumbled upon a pet leash that you feel is especially well-suited for strong dogs! We may even include it in a future update.